Infant mortality and the postulates of the invisible hand in La Guajira

Infant mortality and the postulates of the invisible hand in La Guajira
Infant mortality and the postulates of the invisible hand in La Guajira

Recently, the entities acted upon in Sentence T-302 of 2017 disclosed and celebrated that in La Guajira, death due to malnutrition was reduced by 45% in the first quarter of 2024. This information is based on what is recorded in the epidemiological bulletin issued by the National Institute of Health (INS) of week No. 14, where the death of 10 children under 5 years of age is confirmed through clinical and laboratory procedures, results that were compared with what happened during the first quarter of 2023.

In the same report, 691 children under five years of age with clinically confirmed acute malnutrition are reported, which exceeds what occurred in 2023 by 75%. What special events have occurred in La Guajira so that death due to malnutrition has slowed down, when the incidence of malnutrition is in full growth? Is the context good enough to claim victory and stick out your chest? Are there reasons to Praise the actions of the institutions and celebrate the beginning of the end of malnutrition?

The truth is that nothing special has happened in La Guajira beyond the changes in the territorial governments, which has led to the delay in the opening of the 2024 budget, therefore, the personnel hiring processes have not yet been completed. limiting the formation of the Government and ICBF brigades dedicated to the active search for children in conditions of malnutrition in Upper and Middle Guajira.

The dynamics that were brought from 2023 were lost during the first quarter of 2024, becoming the main reason for the abrupt reduction in the notification of deaths of children under five years of age, which refers to the existence of a high under-reporting of death cases. . That is to say, the number of dead children that are reported in the weekly report of the National Institute of Health are those who manage to access the network of medical services at the initiative of their relatives who take them to urban centers.

At the end of 2023, the most relevant programs for access to water and nutrition were deactivated. The distribution of water by tank trucks and delivery of storage containers ended in the midst of the irregular purchase scandal reported by the Comptroller General of the Republic and the Attorney General of the Nation, equipment and supplies that are parked and deposited in military garrisons of Uribia and Riohacha.

On the other hand, the water service through the 17 public water tank projects under the responsibility of Esepgua where nearly $124 billion were invested has not come into operation. Only the Sararao and Amaripa water supply batteries in the municipality of Maicao are active, built under the works-for-taxes strategy.

The early childhood care service by the Family Welfare Institute is under restructuring and in the first quarter only a pilot project was implemented, leaving more than 70 thousand children without coverage who during 2023 were served through the defunct Units. Community Care under its own modality, UCAs. Likewise, the School Feeding Program (PAE) and the community pots began to operate with trauma during the middle part of April.

The programs, works and actions of the Provisional Action Plan for the implementation of Sentence T-302 of 2017 partially approved by the Constitutional Court have not yet started, since the Mechanism for Monitoring and Evaluation of Public Policy (Mesepp) has not been implemented. met and has not been able to coordinate its operationalization, which will become effective in May, a committee that is convened at the request of the Government of La Guajira and the Presidential Council for the Regions.

This being the case, there are no objective reasons to breastfeed due to the decrease in child deaths. In this problem, there is much to do to structurally change the scenario due to the preventable death of new children due to malnutrition. To claim victory and announce that we are on the right path is to deny the current context and hide the shortcomings that the Government entities have in their coordination to influence the level of food insecurity in La Guajira.

The weekly report of the National Institute of Health No. 14 does not show the success of the specific and disjointed actions of the entities. This shows the existing deficiencies in the notification, since during the first quarter of 2024 no relevant facts can be identified to change the trend that has prevailed until now.

It seems contradictory, but congratulating yourself with a result without making greater efforts to achieve it is equivalent to recognizing the validity of the postulates of the invisible hand proposed by Adam Smith since 1776. Many citizens in La Guajira wonder how to explain the reduction in child mortality indicators due to malnutrition without water, without food, without ICBF attention, without hiring, without personnel, without investment, without quality institutions and without coordination?

Believing in the theory of the invisible hand is giving in, accepting that the population decided freely and by their own means to reduce malnutrition and deaths, a situation that is far from reality. Celebrating and proud of the results is admitting that the death due to malnutrition in La Guajira has been correcting itself, that is, without the intervention of the State, which is difficult to understand in the midst of the administration of a Government that tends to strengthen it from the functions of distribution of goods and services, generation of conditions of equity and social stabilization in the territory.

Feeling proud of the figures for the first quarter is not consistent with reality, which leads one to think that through the publications on X’s social networks the intention of obtaining political benefits from information that is weak, insufficient and has prevailed. contradictory, since nothing has changed conclusively.

Although it is not a direct responsibility of the current Government, the situation looks more critical, given that the gap that exists when comparing the national average mortality rate of children under 5 years of age (per 100,000 children) with that of La Guajira in 2017 and 2023 is makes it wider. While in 2017 the mortality rate due to malnutrition in La Guajira was 4 times higher than the national average, currently infant mortality due to causes associated with malnutrition in La Guajira is 8.3 times higher than the national average. the national average (52.5 La Guajira /6.3 the national average).

These analyzes allow us to conclude that it makes no sense to celebrate or boast with the figures presented by the INS in its weekly epidemiological report No. 14, since the Unconstitutional State of Things in La Guajira remains immovable and the Government’s action has gone backwards rather than moving forward. if the indicators followed by the Constitutional Court in its periodic evaluations are taken into account. For this reason, this corporation has insisted that it would declare a possible contempt for the humanitarian crisis in La Guajira. José Fernando Reyes, as president of the Court, pointed out that it is not ruled out to declare a possible contempt for not providing solutions to the Department’s humanitarian crisis, since “it is not possible that children in La Guajira continue dying from physical hunger”.

If the State has not acted in a coordinated and forceful manner to mitigate the prevalence of mortality in children under five years of age due to factors associated with malnutrition, there is no way to explain the outburst by the institutions in question, as they are not that all of them believe in the invisible hand of Adam Smith and that he is working overtime so that the deaths of boys and girls are immediately reduced. By Citizen Oversight of the Implementation of Sentence T-302 of 2017.

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